Controlled Explosion In North Belfast

Up to 200 families have been evacuated from their homes in north Belfast as Army bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion on a suspicious device.

Police had been undertaking searches for the object since Tuesday afternoon.

Hundreds of people had been warned they could spend two to three days out of their homes and Ardoyne community centre was opened for residents.

PSNI Superintendent Amanda Cooke said that it was a major operation and police have to take every precaution in such a built-up area.

She commented: "Experience has shown us that these calls come in and they're not substantiated. We need to look and see if there's something here. We have experience in this area of secondary devices and other traps being left for police and we need to ensure that everyone is safe when they're moving in."

The alert had caused major disruption in the surrounding area and follows reports of a shooting incident in the Oldpark area on Monday night.

A number of shots were heard at Glenview Street off the Oldpark Road.

A PSNI spokesperson said that there were no reports of anyone being injured or of any damage caused to properties and commented: "We would ask for local people's continued patience and co-operation, as we endeavour to ensure that the area in which they live is absolutely safe."

One eyewitness, who didn't want to be named, was in the street with his children when the gunman appeared.

Ulster Unionist Assembly candidate for North Belfast, Fred Cobain has expressed his anger at the situation.

Mr Cobain commented: "This was an act of lunacy, it’s a wonder that no one has been seriously injured. As a result we now have a serious disruption caused to over 200 local people in the Oldpark area who have been asked to leave their homes and are unsure of when they will be able to return to them.

"Just as with the disruption caused by the recent on left on the Antrim Road, these attacks must be condemned without reservation. There is no place for such acts in 2011, local people do not want this and the persons responsible need to realise that they are not welcome in north Belfast."

Similar condemnation came from North Belfast Alliance Representative Billy Webb and Alliance Oldpark Representative James McClure.

Billy Webb said: "The disruption caused by this ongoing alert is absolutely appalling. Those seeking to cause fear and mayhem in our society are simply a disgrace. People are sick of this and are sick of thugs who get involved in such activities."

James McClure said: "Those who want to disruption in people's everyday lives should reflect on their actions and realise that they will never and can never destabilise the peace that we have built here. I would appeal to anyone who can help police with their investigation into this to contact them immediately."

Sinn Fein representatives including the former MLA, Gerry Kelly have met with the PSNI in relation to the ongoing security alert.

Mr Kelly commented: "Once again we have been left with a situation, like the recent alert on the Antrim Road, where ordinary people, young and old alike, have had to be taken from their homes and forced elsewhere.

"The reality for the people responsible is that the community in north Belfast and right across Ireland are opposed to what they are doing; they are causing untold and unnecessary trauma on the community and for what reason they are still unwilling or indeed unable to tell us. I would call on those responsible to stop what they are doing and to stop inflicting this on our people."

See: North Belfast Bomb Alert Follows Shooting


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

11 February 2013
1 In 5 People Would Not Employ People With Epilepsy
On European Epilepsy Day today, Epilepsy Ireland released results of national consumer research conducted in January 2013 which show that nearly 20% of people if given the choice would not employ someone with epilepsy.
06 January 2012
Soldier Targeted In Car Bomb
In the North a soldier is said to be very lucky to be alive after a bomb was left in the car he had been driving in North Belfast. The device was found under the driver’s seat of the vehicle, which was parked off the Ligoniel Road, at Blackdam Court.
02 September 2011
Northern Stabbing 'Attempted Murder'
The overnight stabbing of a teenager in north Belfast is being treated as attempted murder by the North's police. The victim, a 19-year-old, is in a stable condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after being attacked in Cliftonville Avenue at about 10pm last night.
16 May 2011
Shock As Belfast Children Pick Up Bomb
Two politicians in the North have joined condemnations from the PSNI after a pipe bomb-type device found by children sparked a security alert in north Belfast.
05 February 2010
Belfast Bomb Blast Slammed
A top republican has condemned the people responsible for a Belfast bomb attack, and said they "offer our community nothing". The Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast Gerry Kelly slammed those responsible for another pipe bomb attack in the north of the city last night.